Najib tried multiple times to hinder MACC at height of 1MDB probe in 2016, court told

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak took various measures to hinder the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) at the height of the agency’s ongoing investigation into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) back in 2015-2016, the High Court was told.

The 49th prosecution witness, MACC Senior Superintendent Nur Aida Arifin, said this while under cross-examination during Najib’s trial over the alleged misappropriation of 1MDB’s RM2.27 billion here.

“For MACC, there were several actions taken, including the changing of the MACC chief commissioner, transfer orders, officers getting arrested, Mutual Legal Assistance not being honoured by the attorney general and orders for the case to be classified ‘No Further Action’ (NFA).

Before she could continue further, Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah stopped her in her tracks, stating these were wrong assumptions.

He then asked who ordered for the case to be NFA, to which Nur Aida replied Tan Sri Apandi Ali who was the attorney general at the time.

“And you said that was under Najib’s order?” Muhammad Shafee asked.

“Correct,” Nur Aida replied.

Nur Aida then explained that she, throughout the investigation, had interrogated Najib’s former special officer Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin who told investigators he possessed notes from fugitive Low Taek Jho or Jho Low that were to be delivered to certain parties for “damage control” after news of the 1MDB scandal broke.

Amhari, who is the eighth prosecution witness, had confirmed the note’s existence in his testimony in 2019.

Nur Aida said in the note were instructions for the case to be closed and the needlessness for the MLA request sought by the MACC.

Muhammad Shafee then interjected and asked her if she had any direct evidence to prove Apandi had been directed by Najib, to which Nur Aida replied in the negative.

“I do not have but all that has been stated (in the note) did take place,” she later conceded, but insisted her stand is based on the comprehensive investigation she conducted.

“You are talking like you are in a coffee shop,” Muhammad Shafee replied.

“I speak based on the statements obtained from witnesses and documents, not coffee shop talk,” Nur Aida retorted.

In January 2016, Apandi cleared Najib of any criminal activity involving the entry of RM2.6 billion in 1MDB-linked funds and RM42 million originating from SRC International Sdn Bhd into the latter’s personal bank accounts.

Apandi, who replaced Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail as the attorney general, announced that he had thoroughly studied the papers submitted to him by MACC and ordered the cases closed.

Back in February, Nur Aida had testified that the appointment of Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad as the chief commissioner of the MACC — replacing Tan Sri Abu Kassim — then in 2016 had effectively ended the investigation into Najib’s alleged misappropriation of funds.

When pressed by prosecutors to explain the connection to the cases, she said she interpreted the change in the commission’s leadership as a move to protect Najib from further investigation.

Najib’s 1MDB trial before trial judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes tomorrow.